Editor’s Notes

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The editors of Social Studies Research and Practice are pleased to present the final issue of Volume 1.  The past year has been a success and we hope to continue to offer social studies educators a venue for sharing research, action research, and practical classroom ideas.  We would like to continue to work closely with novice authors and we encourage all of you to submit material you think would be of interest to other social studies educators.

In this issue, we have research articles that represent a range of social studies inquiry.  Kay Chick evaluated K-12 American history textbooks for gender balance. Elementary, middle school, and high school texts were assessed for the number of male and female historical figures in text content and illustrations in the article entitled “Gender Balance in K-12 American History Textbooks.”  In “Strange Bedfellows: Censorship and History Textbooks”, Melissa Matusevich also examines textbook related issues.  She presents a case study of one author’s efforts to have her award-winning history textbook adopted for classroom use and the ensuing censorship efforts by special interest groups are described.  In yet another textbook related study, Khodadad Kaviani analyzes an eighth-grade history textbook used in the Islamic Republic of Iran in 2004 to understand the role of Khomeini vis-à-vis the Shah and how the regime’s adversaries are depicted. In “Theocratic Education: Understanding the Islamic Republic of Iran by Analyzing Its Textbooks”, Kaviani uses concepts of grievance and framing to analyze the textbook. In “Virginia vs. Florida: Two Beginning History Teachers’ Perceptions of the Influence of High-Stakes Tests on Their Instructional Decision-Making,” Elizabeth Yeager and Stephanie van Hover examine how a beginning teacher in Virginia and a beginning teacher in Florida make sense of the high-stakes tests in their state.  John Lee, Peter Doolittle, and David Hicks examine the extent to which social studies teachers use non-digital and digital historical resources and the ways in which they use them in “Social Studies and History Teachers’ Uses of Non-Digital and Digital Historical Resources.”  In “Toward Twenty-First Century Global Citizenship: A Teacher Education Curriculum”, Mary Frances Agnello, David White, and Wesley Fryer propose a model for twenty-first century international teacher education.  They argue that through literacy, technology, and global citizenship education, future teachers can learn the interrelatedness of promoting human acceptance across national/political borders and global economic exigencies. Linda Pickett and Susan Carson present the results and experiences of one school within a unique university/K-12 school district partnership that approached school reform through a framework of peace education in “Importing Peace Education from Belfast: A Prosocial Approach to School Improvement in the US.”

The practice section of the issue includes four Notable Trade Book Lesson Plans, all of which use the Learning Cycle lesson plan format. Cynthia Sunal presents a lesson plan that can be used with elementary students to discuss the geographical concept of place. Nancy Gallavan presents a lesson where students record 12 significant events in Rachel Carson’s life on a graphic organizer. Graphic organizers are included for teacher use.  Janie Hubbard offers a lesson plan, designed for grade levels 3-5, that asks students to compare and contrast their own lives with those of the characters in a book. Dawn Corso’s lesson is an example of how to begin a unit of study on cultural universals through the accessibility of quality literature.  Also included in this section are two Learning Cycle lesson plans using a range of resources other than trade books. Mary Haas illustrates how artists use their skills and available resources to record history and encourage students to appreciate, examine, and create works of art for the stories they tell. Cynthia Sunal, Dennis Sunal, and Mary Haas present a lesson plan that uses hands-on and minds-on experiences to assist fourth or fifth graders in developing the important concept of scale.

In the Interdisciplinary Studies feature, feature editors Elizabeth Wilson and Tammy Cook bring you an article by Kimberly Gray and Daryl Fridley that explores the clichéd notion of history as narrative.

In the Technology feature, Mark Hofer, Robb Ponton, and Katheleen Swan explore how PowerPoint can be used in ways that connect with Universal Design for Learning principles and make teacher and student presentations more engaging and effective.

And finally, in the Social Justice feature, feature editor Lois Christensen asks, “Where did the idea of voting begin?”  The piece provides a brief historical look at voting and democracy.